This is part 3 of 5 of my “Getting My Learn On” series. I’ll be focusing on lessons that you probably learned in kindergarten and how they can apply to your business practices today. Check back every Friday for the next edition in the series.
Whether you are just starting out learning how to market your brand on the internet, or you’ve been at it for a while – you’ve probably come across some rule breaking. Sometimes intentional – sometimes on accident. But to be successful with your internet marketing campaign, you must have guidelines. Here are some that you learned when you were 6 and may need a refresher:
Internet marketing and social media shouldn’t always be a constant competition. It should be a constant conversation. Sure – you can weld your marketing prowess to procure clients away from your competition, but that isn’t really the point of social media. Think of social media as more of a way to partner with your community to come up with solutions to problems.
If someone wants to take their ball and go home, let them. If they want to be a jerk – ignore them. A term that gets used mostly in message board communities is ‘a troll’. A troll is someone who is constantly looking to pick fights and get into lengthy battles for the sake of being heard.
You’ve probably seen some of the ‘games’ that people will play to irritate, gain inflated numbers Twitter followers or spam. You know what you should be doing for your brand – stay the course and let the kids play their games.
Whether you are managing the social media for your brand or someone has hired you to do so for theirs; you need guidelines. While there is a lot of leeway that goes into what makes a ‘successful’ internet marketing campaign or social media campaign, you need to have someone ensuring that you are doing ‘the right thing’.
Undoubtably, you have learned a lot about social media on your own. You’ve taken your lumps here and there and have had successes. But you also need to create a great circle of people around you who are respected in what they do in their own social media circles – a board of directors, of sorts. Get out there and meet people who you see doing ‘the right thing’. Whether it be virtually or in person if they are local and see what you can learn from them. Social media and internet marketing as a whole are changing so rapidly that no one can really be deemed an expert. But there are people who have been at it longer and have learned a lot of valuable life lessons that I’m sure they’d be happy to pass along.
Don’t react too quickly to a panicked situation. I could make a mile long list of celebrities, athletes and professionals that would happily pull a Doc Brown & go back in time 30 seconds to erase that Tweet or un-post picture (see Anthony Wiener) if they could.
When bad things happen to your business or brand, you need to get out in front of the story. As Vince Lombardi said “The best defense is a good offense.” But before you hit send, just take a minute to make sure that you really want this out there.
There has to be a connection to the social media and internet marketing ‘playground’ and the real work that your brand or company is doing. For example, a majority of my social media posts are links to articles that I know my clients will find relevant to their needs. Of course, I spend time connecting with my clients and other professionals on Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn, but all under the umbrella of what my business can offer.
My business Twitter doesn’t always need to be internet marketing based, but I’m not going to start using it as a forum for Cleveland Browns conversation or talking about my personal life. When you have spent your time on the playground, make sure your ‘real life’ is connecting and visa versa.
Don’t feel bullied or threatened by someone just because they have more Twitter followers. That doesn’t classify them as an expert. Do you think Ashton Kutcher is a fantastic actor just because he has 7 million plus followers? If you do, can you tell me how many Oscar awards he’s won?
You have just as much of a voice as they do. It’s not about quantity – it’s ALL about quality. Don’t get worked up on how many followers you have on Twitter or how many likes you get on Facebook. If you are constantly making connections with friends, professionals and customers – you are doing a good job.
This goes with one of the rules above – be careful about what goes out on your brand’s behalf. See Chrysler’s PR mishap back in March ’11:
“I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to fucking drive,” -@ChryslerAutos
See also Red Cross’s oopsie:
“Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer…. when we drink we do it right #gettngslizzerd” – @RedCross
Both organizations handled the aftermath well, but still – having the right people at your brand’s social media helm is crucial. You have to have 100% trust that the person/people who are running your brand are doing it responsibly.
There is plenty of room for everyone out there. While competition is greater than ever in many fields – companies are looking for reliable and affordable solution their problem, whatever that problem may be. You don’t have to use underhanded tactics to steal clients from companies – if you are able to present yourself as a reliable business or brand using internet marketing & social media – you won’t have to deal with any running, pushing or shoving, except for the new business coming in your front door.
Auto-followers, spammers and bots – Oh My! Again, there isn’t a defined right or wrong way to do this in a general sense, but if you are auto-following, spamming or using bots to generate traffic of followers, you might be missing the point of the social aspect of social media. You might get 5000 followers in a month or so using these tactics, but are any of them likely to bring you business opportunities? Unlikely.
The only true way to grow a following and generate opportunities for your brand or business is naturally and organically. Present useful and original content and you will attract a following over time. I know that isn’t what you want to hear, but it’s the truth. Becoming an overnight success isn’t the norm in social media & internet marketing.
You don’t need a lot to get started, but here’s a short list of the bare minimum to start your internet marketing campaign:
That’s a good start, once you get past that – some other things of use:
I’ve been playing nicely for 14 years. If you want an introduction to my friends on the playground – give me a call!